The Demon’s Blood

Written by Desmond Seward
Review by Marilyn Sherlock

This is a factual history of the House of Plantagenet from 1147, when Empress Matilda’s son, Henry, landed in Dorset with a few mercenaries to take the throne of England from Stephen. He failed, but on the death of Eustace, Stephen’s son, Henry was declared heir to the throne, and proclaimed King in 1154 on Stephen’s death. The House of Plantagenet continued to rule England, and for a short time France as well, until Richard III’s death at Bosworth in 1485, when it was superseded by the Tudors. During that time, the foundations for the country we know today were laid down. As an overview to the Plantagenet era, this book’s writing style made it very easy to read, and although I know the period well, it still managed to fill in a few gaps. Philippa Gregory describes it as “the medieval world populated with heroes and seductresses, gods and murderers,” and I couldn’t really put it any better. It will certainly stay on my bookshelf.